Wealth Creation in Rural and Indigenous Places

Thrive Rural Open Field Session

Tuesday, Sept 19, 2:30 – 4 pm ET

Our discussion topic: What does it take to advance equitable prosperity and economic development in a way that embraces and strengthens the unique assets of rural regions? How is your rural place or Native nation doing economic development differently? Join the discussion to share your story.

The challenge: Modern economic development efforts have been dominated by one primary focus: attracting businesses from outside the region. This has induced competition within regions and business-attraction packages that nationally total $80 billion a year — incentives whose zero-sum net effect is to starve many communities of the resources they need to finance essential services for their people and places. These “traditional” economic development approaches with a singular focus on growth and jobs as the primary measures of success have proven insufficient — and sometimes ineffective — at improving rural economic and social outcomes over the long run.

The opportunity: Wealth-creation methods like WealthWorks focus on generating and retaining a range of capitals within the community, reinvesting that wealth for future productivity, and improving the quality of life for community residents, rather than viewing only growth and jobs as the primary measures of success. We call this asset-based, wealth-building, and more encompassing approach “Doing Development Differently.” 

The redesigned WealthWorks website shows how it has been applied in the housing, energy efficiency, renewable energy, food and agriculture, fisheries, forestry and wood products, financing, tourism, health care, and transportation sectors. What’s more, investments in local people, local institutions, local resources, local partnerships, and local systems are just as important as investments in infrastructure and firms.

We want you to join the discussion! This conversation will be enriched by people interested in sharing or learning about doing economic development differently. Please think about a success story or experience you’d like to share.

The gathering will be moderated by Bonita Robertson-Hardy, Aspen CSG’s Co-Executive Director. You don’t have to share your voice to participate in the event; we encourage you to send insights in the chat or simply listen. All are welcome.

Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group